Clarke praises medical staff for keeping Long fit enough to play

Steve Clarke has praised the part played by West Brom’s medical staff in ensuring key striker Shane Long continues to play despite being constantly troubled by a hamstring injury.

Albion had managed to keep the injury in-house until Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni made it public during a press conference.

Long has not completed a full 90 minutes this season but has still played a leading role in the Baggies fine start to the campaign through careful management of the setback.

Clarke said: “There is an injury to Shane that everyone knows about now through circumstances we couldn’t control.

“Playing through an injury is just a measure of how much they want to play for the club, which is great.

“They put their body on the line and play with little injuries – but we also have had great help from our medical staff.

“They go about their job quietly but play their full part as well in getting the players into a good place.

“The medical staff do all they can to make my job more difficult so I’ve got more options to choose from every week.”

Clarke insists he is happy with having to juggle five strikers for two places in Long, Romelu Lukaku, Peter Odemwingie, Marc-Antoine Fortune and Markus Rosenberg.

He said: “It’s part of the job and if I didn’t want to try and juggle five strikers, I wouldn’t have them. You can’t have enough good strikers.”

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